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Pemex To Restart Mexico’s Biggest Refinery After Major Fire

Mexican state oil firm Pemex expects to restart on Thursday its Salina Cruz refinery, Mexico’s biggest, once a massive fire that killed one person and injured 9 others is fully extinguished, a spokesperson for Pemex told Reuters today.

Pemex said on Wednesday that due to the torrential rain in the area caused by tropical storm Calvin, various areas of the Salina Cruz 330,000-bpd refinery in Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca were flooded. The company initiated operations for the safe shutdown of the refinery. Later in the day the flooding caused wastewater dams to overflow and created an oil spill.

Preliminary findings show that this product reached ignition point due to the flooding, causing a fire to break out,” Pemex said, adding that it is fighting to put out the fire.

On Thursday morning, Pemex said that the fire is contained and under control with a low intensity fire. The company confirmed that one person, part of the Pemex fire brigade, was killed in the fire.

This is the second major accident at a Pemex refinery this year. In March, an explosion at the Salamanca dispatch terminal killed eight people.

In November last year, Pemex was said to have hired Bank of America to help it with its search for partners to improve operations and revamp and refit its ageing refineries, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. According to Carlos Murrieta, Director of Industrial Transformation, Pemex had hired an investment bank to help it find potential partners for joint ventures with private companies to revamp the refineries at Tula, Salamanca, and Salina Cruz.

It was a process that started with about 12 banks involved, and in the end, one was selected,” Murrieta told Bloomberg in an interview without naming the investment bank.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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